How to adjust your Mac brightness or volume in smaller increments

fine tune brightness controls on mac

Have you ever wanted to try and adjust your Mac‘s volume only to find that one volume setting was too high and the next step down was too low? In these situations, it’d be nice to get the volume level somewhere in the middle of those two presets.

Although it never seemed possible before, there is a little-known way to adjust your Mac’s volume and brightness levels in even smaller fine-tuned increments, and in this tutorial, we’ll show you how it’s done!

Adjusting the volume or brightness in smaller increments

Typically when you want to adjust the volume or brightness up or down, you’ll tap on the volume up/down or brightness up/down keys on your keyboard. The only downside to this is the preset settings aren’t always convenient.

To adjust your volume up/down or brightness up/down in quarter increments instead of full increments, simply hold down the Shift (⇧) + Option (alt) keys on your keyboard as you press on the volume up/down or brightness up/down keys on your keyboard.

As you do this, you’ll notice only a partial step in the heads up display (HUD) incremental indicator rather than a full step, as shown below:

fine tune volume control on mac

Indeed this is a very small, but very useful feature of macOS that is not very well known. It can come in handy when you want to get down to the absolute lowest screen brightness without installing third-party software like Shady, or getting your Mac’s volume at just the right level so you can hear it comfortably without disturbing others.

Note: Adjusting your display brightness in this way will not lower your display brightness below the smallest full increment in the brightness HUD, but it will adjust your display brightness throughout the rest of the remaining increments.

Wrapping up

It’s incredibly easy to adjust your Mac’s volume or brightness level in even finer increments than you’re used to adjusting with. This is a useful function that isn’t very well-known about macOS, and now that you know how to do it, you can set your brightness and volume levels to more comfortable levels.

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Did you know you could fine-tune your Mac’s volume and brightness levels in quarter increments? Share in the comments below!